Sprint’s Chief Operating Officer, Günther Ottendorfer, reportedly explained in a recent interview how the company and its partners underwent a “range of trials” in 2016 with small cell sites. These trials were to determine the most efficient way to deploy small cell technology but there were “some misunderstandings in the market.” As we enter 2017, Ottendorfer stated that the trials are for the most part behind America’s fourth largest national carrier and that the company would be expanding its small site deployments this year, taking advantage of the lessons it has learnt. He added: “I’m very confident that with streamlined and very elegant small cell solutions we will have a good rollout this year.” During 2017, Sprint’s network partners will experiment with different technologies and techniques in order to combine both the best coverage, network speed and cost effectiveness.
One of Sprint’s partners during these trials is Mobilitie, but Ottendorfer was keen to highlight that Mobilitie works with all four national carriers and that the company is very happy with the business relationship. Likewise, with its relationship with ExteNet Systems, who installed 200 small cells in the Manhattan area, which increased Sprint’s average network speeds by 43-percent for the downlink and an impressive 56-percent for the uplink. .
As for Sprint’s efforts to densify its network through using small cell sites, Ottendorfer did not provide specific network details or the number of small site that have been deployed and instead explained how the company would improve the network first and talk about it second. He alluded that the best way to refine and optimize the network was through deploying the network and constantly experimenting. “If we find a better way to do things, we don’t want to be stuck to one template.” At this juncture, there is no clarification as to how Sprint’s small site network upgrade has been going but industry experts have highlighted some of the difficulties in deploying a dense network of small sites - most often at the planning and permit process. The FCC, Federal Communications Commission, is investigating ways that it can stream the legal framework a carrier must navigate in order to deploy a small cell site. If this is successful, this should help all carriers seeking to deploy small sites - which includes the three other national carriers, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.